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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 January 28 - February 3  > Aso shows no concern for people experiencing hardships and offers no prescriptions for solving problems: JCP Shii
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2009 January 28 - February 3 [POLITICS]

Aso shows no concern for people experiencing hardships and offers no prescriptions for solving problems: JCP Shii

January 29, 2009
Prime Minister Aso Taro on January 28 delivered his policy speech before the plenary sessions of both Houses, the first since he took office in autumn last year.

Aso reiterated his plan to increase the consumption tax rate in FY 2011, asking the public to “bear a heavier burden in order to fund social welfare programs.”

He stated that “transformation will not be without pain” and that in order to implement a sustainable social security system, the financial burden needs to be commensurate with the level of benefits to be received.

Regarding the employment issue, the prime minister had no measures to present to solve the problems, even though as many as 400,000 people - temporary workers and fixed-term contract workers – are expected to lose their jobs at the end of March.

Aso was just repeating what his cabinet announced late last year.

On foreign policies, Aso referred to the need for Japan to contribute to global peace and stability, stressing that the alliance with the United States must be further strengthened.

He said that the government will cooperate with the new U.S. administration led by President Barack Obama in addressing global issues, including the fight against terrorism, and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. He also made clear that Japan will continue with its steady implementation of the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.

JCP Chair Shii comments on Aso policy speech

Answering reporters’ questions concerning Aso’s policy speech, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo made the following points:

“The prime minister failed to mention the cause of, and responsibility, for the present emergency situation regarding mass layoffs of temporary and fixed-term contract workers as well as a rapid increase in the poverty rate and economic inequalities.

Without a critical review of what the government has done, Aso is unable to present any prescriptions to solve the problems. It is instructive to see the Liberal Democratic Party standing politically empty-handed.

In the upcoming parliamentary debate, we will actively call for measures to deal with the collapse of the jobs market and measures to stimulate the economy. This is a matter of having political will to implement change.

The JCP will further grill the LDP-government regarding its responsibility for the adverse labor law reform that destroyed jobs that in turn led to this grave ‘political disaster’.

When it comes to pointing out the main cause of the present economic crisis, Prime Minister Aso just referred to external factors, mainly from the United States. He called it a U.S. ‘tsunami’ reaching but the Japanese government is to blame for destroying the bulwarks needed to protect us from such a ‘tsunami.’

In short, Japan’s economic structure needs to be changed from one of heavily depending on ‘foreign demand’ to one of being led by ‘domestic demand’.”
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